Ten reasons to visit Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is a great place to experience 800 years of British naval history. Back to 1194 King Richard I started to construct the dockyards. In 1495 Henry VII ordered the construction of the world’s first dry dock around which Henry VIII built a fleet construction centre as well as the famous Mary Rose. In 1670 the Royal Navy was formed and the docks then became the Royal Dockyard. Consequently it grew to be the largest industrial complex in the world and played a very important role in the industrial revolution in 19th century as well as in both world wars.
1. HMS Warrior 1860
HMS Warrior was originally built in 1860 and was largest, fastest and more power warship in the world. As the world’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship powered by steam and constructed of wrought iron, HMS Warrior 1860 became the ultimate deterrent, although it never once fired a shot in anger.
2. Mary Rose Museum
Mary Rose Museum is the home of Mary Rose that was built between 1509 and 1511 and one of the first ships able to fire a broadside. Mary Rose was a firm favourite of King Henry VIII and was sank in July 1545 when it was in battle against the French. Mary Rose Museum contains 20,000 artefacts found in the wreck of Mary Rose.
3. HMS Victory
HMS Victory is the oldest commissioned warship in the world and the sixth ship to bear the name. HMS Victory is the flagship of the Commander in Chief Naval Home Command. However HMS Victory is well known for being the flagship of Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
4. Action Stations
Action Stations is at Boathouse No 6, which was built in 1846. The idea of the Action Station is to bring the modern Royal Navy directly to their visitors with computer games, short films, physical activities and technological experiments.
5. Harbour Tour
The boat for Harbour Tour can contain over 250 passengers. The Harbour Tour is a 45 minute tour around Portsmouth Harbour. There is a guide providing the information of the ships including warships and commercial ships that you are passing by. Before the tour finishes the boat has a short stop at the Gunwharf Quays where you can get off and pop to the shopping centre.
6. National Museum of the Royal Navy
The National Museum of the Royal Navy was founded in 1911 and is one of country’s leading maritime museums. At National Museum of the Royal Navy you can see, touch, hear and even smell the history of the Royal Navy through a rich collection of artefacts and award-winning permanent exhibitions.
7. Trafalgar Sail
Trafalgar Sail is housed in environmentally-controlled conditions in Storehouse 10. Trafalgar Sail is recognised as the largest single original artefact from the Battle of Trafalgar. The fore topsail was the second largest sail on board HMS Victory and would have been one of the main targets for French and Spanish guns at the Battle of Trafalgar.
8. Dockyard Apprentice
The Dockyard Apprentice tells the story of Dockyard life in 1911, when the great Dreadnought battleships were being constructed. At the Dockyard Apprentice you can become an apprentice for the day, clocking in at the Victory Gate and learning all about the crafts and skills of building ships.
9. Victory Gate
Victory Gate is the main entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Victory Gate dates back to 1711 and features a plaque on the right hand wall which marks the visit of Queen Anne in the same year. During the Second World War Victory Gate was widened to allow large vehicles to enter.
10. Porter’s Lodge and Porter’s Lodge Garden
The Porter’s Lodge was built in 1708 as a domestic building where the Dockyard Porter resided. Historically the Porter had an extremely important role in Dockyard’s daily running.
Behind the Porter’s Lodge is the Porter’s Garden. Porter’s Lodge Garden is a Millennium Garden designed by Landscape Architect Robert Camlin in 1999. Adjacent to Porter’s Lodge is a statue of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott.
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is open every day (except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). There are several places to eat and drink, also a few shops for gifts.
The visits to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard have been divided into six areas: HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860, Mary Rose Museum, Royal Naval Museum, Harbour Tour and Action Stations. You can pay for the attractions separately. You can also purchase an all inclusive ticket that allows you to visit all. Currently Portsmouth Historic Dockyard prices are £19.50 for an adult and £16.50 for a senior citizen and children. One thing to bear in mind is all inclusive ticket only allows you to have unlimited admission to HMS Warrior 1860, Action Stations, Dockyard Apprentice and Royal Naval Museum. Entry to the Trafalgar Sail is included in a HMS Victory ticket.